South Africa has been rocked to its core over the past couple of years, with the recent devastation caused by the floods in KwaZulu-Natal the latest tragedy among a litany of disasters, including the riots and looting in 2021, the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing deterioration of much of our infrastructure.
Record levels of unemployment mean that many South Africans are stuck in a downward spiral of poverty that they simply do not have the resources to escape on their own. On the other hand, there are many South Africans who have the means to make a meaningful change to the lives of those in need – but are perhaps not sure where to start and their intention often doesn’t translate into action.
According to an article published by the Stanford Center for Longevity, research reveals that one in four people do not volunteer because they have never been asked. South Africa’s largest independent insurance Group, Hollard, aims to remove that barrier with its new initiative.
In what is believed to be a world first, Hollard today launched a unique initiative that calls on all South Africans to volunteer their time and effort in service of better communities and better futures, while allowing policyholders to effectively earn back a portion of their insurance premium by doing so.
Hollard ChangeMaker encourages all South Africans to volunteer their time and makes it easy to do so. While a pilot group of Hollard policyholders stand to earn back up to 20% of their life insurance premiums through the programme, this is a call from the insurer to everyone who cares about South Africa.
“The turmoil that South Africans have been through over the past two years really got us thinking about how we could go beyond our core business,” says Hollard Chief Marketing Officer Heidi Brauer. “We had a sense that we needed to do more to fulfil our organisational purpose – which is to enable more people to create and secure a better future.
“Of course, as an insurer we were already fully engaged in assisting individuals and businesses to overcome the losses they had sustained, and over and above paying out record amounts of claims, we spent another R400-million in additional relief measures including donations to the Solidarity Fund, discounts and waivers to policyholders, assistance with feeding programmes, loans, grants and cash advances to suppliers and various other measures. But we knew we had to find other ways of making a difference.
“Our creative agency, VMLY&R, came up with an audacious idea. What if we could unleash the power of active citizenry to make real change, by creating a way for South Africans to pay for their insurance premiums through volunteering?
“What if we could find a way to create thousands of small acts that would generate big change? What if we could get South Africans to take an active role in improving the future, not only for themselves but for the most vulnerable in our society?”
The potential of volunteering as a means to improve South Africa’s trajectory is not a new one, but the tragic floods in KwaZulu-Natal have exacerbated the need for ordinary citizens to lend a hand. The much-lauded actions of Gift of the Givers, a world-famous South African disaster relief and aid organisation, have demonstrated the power of private citizens to make a significant impact.
To make the dream a reality Hollard has partnered with leading South African volunteering platform, forgood, to offer would-be volunteers a large selection of causes to sign up for via Hollard’s website. Their efforts will be recorded and, in the case of a pilot group of Hollard policyholders, rewarded – in the form of a percentage of their policy premiums being earned back.
“We’re optimistic that by showing everyone just how easy it is to make a difference, we’ll unleash the power of volunteering at mass scale, at a time when South Africa, and the world, needs everyone to be a change-maker,” say Saks Ntombela, Hollard Group CEO.
For more details, go to www.hollard.co.za/changemaker.